Montana: Supreme Court Says Patients Possess No Fundamental Right To Cannabis

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 12, 2012

    Members of the Montana Supreme Court ruled 6 to 1 on Tuesday that patients do not possess a fundamental right to access and consume cannabis for therapeutic purposes. The decision reverses a District Court ruling enjoining the state from enforcing various provisions of a 2011 state law that limits the public’s access to medical marijuana.

    “In pursuing one’s health, an individual has a fundamental right to obtain and reject medical treatment,” Justice Michael Wheat opined for the majority. “But, this right does not extend to give a patient a fundamental right to use any drug, regardless of its legality.”

    He added, “A patient’s ‘selection of a particular treatment, or at least a medication, is within the area of government interest in protecting public health,’ and regulation of that medication does not implicate a fundamental constitutional right.”

    The Court further opined that a patient’s “right to privacy does not encompass the affirmative right of access to medical marijuana.”

    The majority concluded, “[T]he plaintiffs cannot seriously contend that they have a fundamental right to medical marijuana when it is still unequivocally illegal under the (federal) Controlled Substances Act.”

    The Court’s decision allows for the state to fully implement Senate Bill 423, a 2011 law that sought to significantly limit the use, production, and distribution of cannabis among patients who possess a physician’s authorization to consume it.

    Montana voters will decide in November on Initiative Referendum 124, which seeks to repeal SB 423. Montana voters in 2004 approved patients’ use of medical cannabis for qualified illnesses by a vote of 62 percent.

    Full text of the decision, Montana Cannabis Industry Association et al. v State is available online here.

    NORML has additional details about this November’s statewide and municipal ballot initiative at our Smoke the Vote page here.

    54 responses to “Montana: Supreme Court Says Patients Possess No Fundamental Right To Cannabis”

    1. lonny says:

      the politicians are not doctors so how can they make any decision on our helth as awhole? shouldn’t anything concerning our health be left to those whos job it is??

    2. Dave says:

      So we should circumvent rights based on a law that itself is not constitutional? This is a god damn house of cards, but the cards are made of lies instead of paper.

      No kidding, people don’t have a right to access whatever they want. However, how does the shit law cited by the judges prevent them from granting that right in this case? The whole idea that Marijuana is dangerous and the public is served by banning it is a scam and the Schedule One label is a technical failure not a good reason to reduce the public’s rights!

      Christ, these judges are fucking retarded! Do your jobs, stop rubber stamping this drug war garbage with your approval. It is a scam and you are supposed to protect us these kinds of abuses.

    3. Datrebor says:

      It seems to me that they couldn’t be further wrong then they are with this. I can and do ‘seriously’ believe we do have a fundamental right to except or reject any medical treatment or medicines. The Governments ONLY role in this is to make sure that the treatment is not worse then the condition. Cannabis is a safe treatment unlike the drugs you see on TV and the lawsuits you about so many of them. Its fine they have an opinion but to make a ruling or change a ruling because of their opinion only with out any facts is wrong.

    4. JJ says:

      keep voting for republicans….
      keep voting for democrats…

      and this is what you get…..

      when one state legalizes marijuana for ALL PURPOSES…I will be moving there…this is bs and it is a war between the rich and poor…

      which side are you on

    5. Yvonne Reyes says:

      they’d so much rather have their crappy pharmaceuticals poisoning all the natural resources including our fellow creatures the animals of this earth they are so hell bent on ruining everything in existence that they don’t even care about their own worthless futures

    6. Shawn Christopher says:

      This verdict draws into question the fundamental legitimacy of Montana’s state supreme court

    7. St. Nick says:

      Just cause they rule that we have no right to pot does’nt mean THEY’RE right. They’re wrong. We have the God-given right to ingest ANY drug. These fools are still trying to perpetuate this unjust war just so their egos are satisfied. The people we are against are satan and they’re only for greed and their worthless selves. What crap/shit they are. Never give up! We CAN and WILL win this war if it takes another 100 years.

    8. Jim Rogers says:

      Dam right it is a ton of BS.We work hard all day to pay a large part of our salaries in taxes,we put our lives on the line in many ways for this country every day.Yet when it comes time to request a small amount of logically personnel freedom,all the government wants to do is put you in a cell and ruin your life.
      I’d like to quote one of our Founding Fathers, who seemed to know a little about Freedom.”The care of human life and happiness,and not their destruction,is the first and only legitimate object of a good government”. There seems to be nothing legitimate about the financial and warrior mentality of these bunch of bullies.

    9. joey says:

      War between the rich and the poor? no both poor and rich like drugs mostly the rich. the US is a waring country and no one will join there services. if they did such a thing a weed and everyone smolked it. the gov wont let it happen

    10. joey says:

      such a thing like “legalize in any state